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Bishop Care Center sued for alleged neglect

May 23, 2011

A trial date has been set for a lawsuit against the Bishop Care Center that alleges employees there neglected a resident, leading to her death. Photo by Mike Bodine

A trial date has been set for a lawsuit against the Bishop Care Center, its parent corporation, Horizon West Healthcare, Inc., and five employees that alleges reckless, neglectful and abusive treatment of a patient.
The trial is scheduled to begin March 9, 2012. Judge Dean Stout will be presiding.
According to a complaint filed in Inyo County Superior Court, the victim, then 77, was admitted to the Bishop Care Center in 2005 after suffering a small stroke.
“At the time of her admittance to the Bishop Care Center, defendants were aware that (the victim) was in a weakened condition, having recently suffered a stroke; was non-ambulatory, because her legs were contracted as a result of her stroke; and that she was completely dependant on staff for her safety needs, including complete assistance with transfers and ambulation,” the complaint states.
The complaint goes on to state that the Bishop Care Center, Horizon West Healthcare, Inc. and the five defendants, identified as members of “upper management” at the Care Center, are directly responsible for injuries the victim received at the Care Center due to an alleged failure “to provide the care and supervision” that was required to keep the victim in relatively good health.
The court documents go on to say that, on March 15, 2009, the victim was dropped from a lift, suffering a broken hip and two broken fingers on her left hand.
After being dropped, she was taken to Northern Inyo Hospital, where physicians there found that, in addition to the broken hip and fingers, the victim was suffering from two stage IV decubitus ulcers, dehydration, malnutrition, a urinary tract infection and pneumonia.
On Dec. 25, 2009 the victim was again admitted to Northern Inyo Hospital, where she was diagnosed with respiratory distress (either as a result of dehydration or pneumonia), severe dehydration and a possible urinary tract infection. She remained in the hospital for four days, where she received fluids and was placed on antibiotics before being transferred back to the Care Center on Dec. 29, 2009.
According to the complaint, “ultimately, the injuries from her March 15 drop incident and the multiple incidences of pneumonia, dehydration and urinary tract infections were all too much for (the victim) to overcome. As a result of the Bishop Care Center’s reckless, neglectful and abusive treatment, plaintiff died Jan. 9, 2010.”
Following complaints from the victim’s family, the California Department of Public Health opened an investigation into potential violations of state and federal regulations.
The complaint filed against the Care Center, Horizon and the five employees include 12 counts, ranging from failing to ensure the victim was not subject to acts of abuse and neglect, to failure to properly train and supervise personnel and failure to provide proper nutrition.
Phone calls to the Bishop Care Center seeking comment on the allegations were not returned as of press time Friday.

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